CORRECTED: 6th Annual Travel Weekly Readers' Choice Awards

DESTINATIONS

Asia/Pacific Countries

AustraliaInbound tourism is big business in Australia. There were 5.7 million visitor arrivals during the year ended Feb. 29 and 3.6 million to August, unchanged from the same period last year. Tourism officials predict international arrivals will reach 8.9 million by 2016. Tourism Australia promotes the country in 23 markets, including the U.S. and Canada. In mid-November, the U.S. dollar was buying about $1.50 in Australian dollars, making hotel rates, restaurants and sightseeing a good value for the U.S. traveler. Travel agents should start pretrip research at Tourism Australia's website, Australia.com, where they'll find a number of resources.

China
The country's hotel industry continues to boom with an influx from large international players, such as Accor Group, InterContinental Hotels Group, Wyndham Hotel Group, Marriott International and Starwood Hotels and Resorts, and new luxury offerings from smaller entrants, such as Nikko Hotels International and Jumeirah Hotels and Resorts. This summer, Starwood marked a milestone of growth in China, announcing its 100th location in the country with the Sheraton Beijing Dongcheng Hotel, set to open in December 2010. 

Japan
In 2003, when the Japan National Tourist Organization instituted its Visit Japan advertising campaign, with the goal of doubling its foreign visitors to 10 million by 2010, it had Westerners in mind. What it has gotten instead is a surge of Asian visitors. U.S. visitors, once the largest group of overseas visitors to Japan, have dropped to fourth behind China, South Korea and Taiwan. For the first time, Japan is taking in more tourists than it is sending out. Japan offers a fascinating culture to visitors. It has 14 World Heritage sites that include temples, pagodas, castles and, most recently added, a silver mine. The country also has one of the world's most highly developed transportation systems, most notably its high-speed rail service.

Tahiti
Tahiti is the largest of the 118 islands and atolls that constitute French Polynesia. Tahiti and its capital city, Papeete, are located in the Society Islands, an archipelago that includes the high-rising islands of Bora Bora, Huahine, Moorea, Raiatea and Tahaa.  Papeete is less than eight hours by air from Los Angeles, where nonstop flights depart nearly every day on Air Tahiti Nui and Air France. For names of tour operators, cruise lines, hotels and resorts, visit Tahiti-tourisme.com.

Thailand
Tourism continues to play an increasingly important role in the country's national, economic and social development and ranks high on the national agenda. The baht has been selling at a rate of 134 to the dollar from an earlier rate of 128 to the dollar, making an already good buy for U.S. travelers even better. In terms of marketing and promotions, the Thai tourism industry has gone back to the popular "Amazing Thailand" slogan that proved successful in 1998-99. It underscores the image of Thailand as a peaceful, hospitable country, a year-round tourism destination offering quality products and services and value-for-money. Total international visitor arrivals for 2009 is forecasted to be 16 million.

Asia/Pacific Cities

Bangkok
The biggest challenge for the Thai travel and tourism industry in 2009 will be restoring the reputation of the destination in the wake of media coverage and travel advisories having to do with a political standoff that brought protesters into the streets in Bangkok. The Pacific Asia Travel Association downplayed the unrest, saying the impact would be minimal if the unrest was shortlived. U.S. citizens traveling anywhere abroad should monitor the State Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs website at http://travel.state.gov, where cautions, alerts and warnings can be found. Bangkok, with a population of more than 8 million people, is the capital and largest city of Thailand. One of the world's most popular tourist attractions, it is located on the east bank of the Chao Phraya River and is one of the fastest-growing cities in Southeast Asia.

Beijing
Beijing, which hosted the 2008 Summer Olympic Games, is recovering from travel restrictions imposed for the Olympics in August that affected the number of tourists who could visit China. The Wall Street Journal reports that analysts expect the rollback of those restrictions could help revive inbound travel and boost hotel stays. The city underwent an aggressive upgrade of its tourist facilities and infrastructure in preparation for the influx of visitors to the Olympics.

Hong Kong
Big things are happening in the travel and tourism arena, which is one of the pillars of Hong Kong's economy. In an effort to build Hong Kong as the main center in Asia for international conventions and exhibitions as well as a major cruise hub, the government has made two moves this year: It waived the 3% hotel tax, effective July 1 until further notice, and gave the financial go-ahead to a new cruise terminal in the city. The government said it would offer financial support to the development at Kai Tak, which is set to have an operating berth by 2013. Cruise lines currently offering itineraries in Asia include Costa Cruises, Princess Cruises, Silversea Cruises and Azamara.

Singapore
Singapore is slated to open its new international cruise terminal at Marina South in 2010, doubling the port's capacity and giving it the ability to accommodate the largest ships currently in service or in development. The Marina South facility will be a 10- to 15-minute drive from the existing Singapore Cruise Center at HarbourFront, which has two cruise-ship berths. Singapore's goal is to handle 1.6 million embarking and disembarking cruise passengers per year by 2015. Last year, the tourism board said Singapore Cruise Center reported a cruise passenger volume of more than 943,000, an increase of 10% over the 857,000 passengers achieved in 2006.

Sydney
Sydney is Australia's oldest and biggest city as well as its most global. Known as the Gateway to Australia, it is set on one of the world's most stunning harbors, which extends either side in a golden chain of inner-city beaches. All of its attributes lie within easy reach of the city center. Sydney's harbor is its natural playground, the dominant factor in so much of what the city has to offer. Visitors won't want to miss being entertained by a performance at the Sydney Opera House or enthralled by one of the best Aboriginal art collections in the world at the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

Caribbean

ArubaVisitors to Aruba are drawn by the island's luxury hotels and beautiful beaches, but the story this year is about airlift. U.S. travelers to Aruba are precleared by U.S. customs at Queen Beatrix Airport. In addition, airlift was enhanced again for the winter season by JetBlue and Delta Airlines. New York's Kennedy Airport will receive an additional Saturday frequency, making the first quarter schedule from Kennedy twice daily and three flights on Saturdays. Boston also will receive a boost in air service from JetBlue. Delta Airlines will add a second daily flight from Atlanta to Aruba as of Dec. 20.

Dominican RepublicThe Dominican Republic offers a variety of new hotels ranging from luxury resorts to family-friendly hotels to boutique properties. It has eight international airports as well as numerous seaports and marinas. Of the country's six regions, the East Coast contains Punta Cana/Bavaro, the most popular and fastest-growing tourist area in the country. This is the place for tourists seeking an all-inclusive beach vacation. Just south of this is Bayahibe. This area contains one of the most celebrated national parks and has received awards for its conservation efforts in tourism. Another popular East Coast destination is La Romana. When asked about this area, most people think of Casa de Campo. While the luxurious resort frequented by many celebrities is a top attraction, the city of La Romana is historically important, especially for baseball fans, and is well worth a visit.

Jamaica
Jamaica's tourism growth hinges on the U.S., the growth markets in Europe and the emerging markets in Asia. The number of Chinese visitors to Jamaica is up over 2007, and tourism officials are looking to reverse an 18% decline in the market from Japan. To that end, the government approved a policy to allow casino gambling. The first casino operation will be the Solis Palmyra Resort & Spa, opening in March at Rose Hall, Montego Bay. A second, Harmony Cove in Trelawny, is slated for a 2015 opening. In the cruise market, Jamaica and Royal Caribbean Cruises signed a $122 million contract for development of a cruise-ship terminal on Jamaica's north coast.

St. LuciaSt. Lucia welcomed 120,000 U.S. travelers in 2007. The nation's tourism strategy, according to Tourism Minister Allen Chastanet, is to keep airlift in place. Air Jamaica suspended its thrice-weekly service to the island, effective April 1. British Airways started service on Oct. 27 with three flights nonstop per week. American Airlines resumed its nonstop, three-days-a-week service from New York on Nov. 20 after a two-month hiatus. American also offers daily, nonstop service to St. Lucia from Miami. St. Lucia is now negotiating a second flight out of Miami with American. The new flight would see 150 seats a day out of Miami. US Airways flies from Charlotte, N.C., and Philadelphia, and Delta flies to St. Lucia from Atlanta. American Eagle also serves St. Lucia from San Juan.

St. Martin
The smallest island in the world ever to have been partitioned between two different nations, St. Martin/St. Maarten has been shared by the French and the Dutch for almost 350 years. The border is almost imperceptible, and people cross back and forth without ever realizing they are entering a new country. Each side retains much of the distinctiveness of its own national culture. In St. Martin, the beaches are secluded, the resorts provide lavish accommodations, and the restaurants offer some of the finest dining experiences anywhere in the Caribbean.

U.S. Virgin IslandsThe U.S. Virgin Islands is known for its three principal islands, St. Croix, St. John, and St. Thomas. Each one distinguished by its own personality. The liveliest is St. Thomas, which offers sophisticated dining and duty-free shopping. Charlotte Amalie is a bustling  harbor town with restaurants, warehouse shops and historical monuments. St. Thomas' Magens Bay has been voted one of the most beautiful beaches in the world by National Geographic magazine. St. Croix, the largest of the three islands, is home to the towns of Christiansted and Frederiksted. Two-thirds of St. John, the smallest of the three islands, enjoys designation as a protected U.S. national park. Its world-renowned beaches include Trunk Bay, Cinnamon Bay and Maho Bay.

Canada

Banff
Banff hosts 4 million guests each year. As a base camp to Banff National Park in the Canadian Rockies, it is a community rooted in park values. To that end, Banff embraces an aggressive growth-management plan created to preserve its small-town charm and its size and population. Everything is at most 10 minutes away, and residents must work in the town in order to live there. Skiers and snowboarders can find challenges within the three Banff/Lake Louise ski resorts. Banff also offers an assortment of sightseeing and leisure activities, including strolling through its eclectic shops and boutiques. Accommodations range from five-star hotels to private chalets.

Montreal
Montreal has much of the Gallic charm of Paris -- the language, fine restaurants and historical buildings and sidewalk cafes -- but it's a multicultural city and more casual than its European counterpart. The core of the city is bordered by four streets: Sherbrooke and Rene Levesque, which run east and west, and Atwater and St. Denis, which run north and south. Within this area are many of the restaurants, museums and shops that are popular with visitors. Traveling south, visitors encounter the small but vibrant Chinatown, Old Montreal and, finally, the Old Port.

Quebec City
Quebec City, the capital of Quebec province, is perched atop Cap Diamant, from where it overlooks the St. Lawrence River. The cradle of French civilization in North America and the only fortified city north of Mexico, Quebec City has been on Unesco's World Heritage list since 1985. The city is a showcase of French-inspired architecture and cultural and national treasures.

TorontoHome to more than 100 cultures, Toronto calls itself "the world within a city." It is Canada's largest city, with a population of 4.2 million, and its lively downtown is home to art galleries, museums, restaurants, sports venues and a theater district. Toronto has a Greek district, a Little Italy, a Little India and a Little Poland, but most of all, it has Chinatown. In fact, it has six such districts, if one includes the suburbs. The original, at the intersection of Dundas and Spadina, is the most visible, having grown into a boisterous neighborhood reminiscent of Hong Kong. On weekends, especially, the sidewalks are crammed with open-air food stalls, vendors and people from all backgrounds who go there to shop and eat. The restaurants are a big attraction. Chinese chefs produce authentic cuisines, including Szechuan, Hunan, Mandarin and Cantonese. Their ingredients are purchased fresh from the stalls lining the streets.

Vancouver
Vancouver, British Columbia's largest city, is getting ready to co-host the 21st Olympic Winter Games and the 10th Paralympic Winter Games in 2010. The Olympic Games will be staged in Vancouver and Whistler from Feb. 12 to 28. Vancouver and Whistler will host the Paralympic Winter Games from March 12 to 21. Official hospitality packages that include tickets and accommodations are on sale for U.S. residents through Jet Set Sports at Jetsetsports.com. Packages range from $3,806 to $34,500. Visitors to Vancouver will understand why the city is consistently rated as one of the best in the world in which to live. Its scenery is spectacular, it has a bustling metropolitan core, and it boasts one of the mildest climates in Canada. Stanley Park, the Lions Gate Bridge and the Gastown quarter are some of its attractions.

Central/South America

ArgentinaArgentina's hotels receive 5 million visitors each year. Accommodations range from five-star hotels to boutique properties and country houses. Argentina has more than 10,000 places to stay, offering more than 197,000 rooms. Investment in the hotel industry is increasing and is one of the most dynamic areas of the country's economy. During 2008 and 2009, 300 hotels are slated to be built. Among the latest hotel companies to announce plans to build in Argentina are Hilton, Hyatt, InterContinental, Jumeirah and Wyndham. 

Belize
The hotels and tourist accommodations industry in Belize is growing and now boasts nearly 600 licensed properties ranging from all-inclusive resorts to bed and breakfasts, ecotourism sites and campgrounds. The highest concentration of hotels and resorts is found in the Ambergris Caye, Placencia and Cayo district areas. Ambergris is the largest of the Belize cayes as well as the most developed. It is the only location in the country with timeshare properties and is known as a hideout for the rich and famous. Placencia offers 16 miles of sandy beach, and Mayan ruins make it an ideal location for the adventure traveler. The Cayo district contains 880,000 acres of protected areas, nature reserves and national parks, making it an ecotourist vacation destination. There are regular internal flights to the Cayes, and many resorts can arrange transfers. The best time to visit is in the dry season, late November to May.

Brazil
In 2007, 5 million travelers visited Brazil. The most recent research on international tourism demand in Brazil shows business and conventions and events are expanding more than the leisure sector, although leisure travel still accounts for 44.1% of visits. The research shows that in general the tourist who chooses Brazil as a destination is between 32 and 50 years old and educated; 66% of the 27,000 tourists interviewed were repeat visitors.

Costa Rica
Tourist arrivals in Costa Rica last year numbered 1.9 million people, with a projected increase this year of 10%. The revenue generated by tourists last year reached a historic high of $1.9 billion, making the tourism industry the main generator of revenue for the country. Costa Rica is a leader and pioneer of sustainable tourism, and it prides itself on the fact that its minister of tourism has been chosen to head the United Nations World Tourism Organization now through 2009. The appointment represents a first for Costa Rica. The Central American country covers only .01% of the surface of Earth but contains 4% of the world's biodiversity. It has set aside one-fourth of its land area as a national trust for parklands and wildlife refuges, making it a draw for  ecotourists and adventure travelers.

Peru
Peru is one of very few countries whose inventory of tourism resources includes every type recognized by world tourism specialists. Natural locations offer a variety of ecosystems and a high degree of biodiversity (it is one of the few countries in the world that can offer the traveler sun and beaches, snow sports and adventure in tropical jungles at any time of the year), and historical structures show signs of civilization from paleolithic times to the grand buildings of the Incas. Machu Picchu, the remains of an Inca city, is one of the most visited destinations in South America. Peru travel and tourism is expected to generate $11.3 million of economic activity in 2008, growing to $19.3 million by 2018.

European Countries

England
England draws both first-time and repeat visitors for its rich cultural legacy, contemporary attractions, the bustle of London and the enchantment of its countryside. But Britain's tourism industry has a new focus, the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, which will take place in London.

France
Landscapes of lavender farms in Provence, villages of the French Alps, Paris on the Seine, and 10,000 chateaus, abbeys and manor houses are among the magnificence that is France. One of the most popular destinations in the world, the capital city of Paris and the regions of France offer 6,000 museums and 1,000 festivals a year.

Germany
Germany is full of surprises, from charming towns along the Rhine to the Old World atmosphere of Munich and Cologne. Among other attractions are Munich's Oktoberfest, the cultural hotbed of Berlin and ski resorts and mountain villages in Bavaria and the Alps.

Ireland
With its lively and booming cities, its historical villages and castles and its friendly people who welcome tourists with warmth in small-town pubs, restaurants and shops, it's no wonder that Ireland attracts thousands from the U.S. each year.

Italy
Italy is a country renowned for centuries for its beauty and the arts, whether in small, medieval hill towns, seaside villages or cities such as Florence, Milan, Rome and Venice. Each city has a wealth of architecture, paintings and sculptures as well as a celebrated lifestyle revolving around food, fashion and fun.

Spain
Spain is one of the cultural centers of Europe. It has beautiful cities and towns, some with Moorish architecture like the Great Mosque of Cordoba and Granada's Alhambra, two of the most visited sites by tourists. The Gothic style of the 13th century can be found in the cathedrals of Burgos, Toledo and Leon. Spain has hundreds of other cities worth visiting. Among the most popular are Madrid, its vibrant capital; Barcelona; Bilbao; Cadiz; Jerez de la Frontera; Mallorca; San Sebastian; Santander; Seville; and Valencia.

European Cities

Barcelona
Barcelona is the capital and most populous city of Catalonia and the second-largest city in Spain. The city has a wealth of historical architecture and emerged as one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe during the 1990s. Barcelona has many quarters, but the most important and interesting for visitors are Ciutat Vella, Barcelona's old town, which is home to the medieval Barri Gotic; Eixample, a quarter noted for its art nouveau buildings; Gracia, which has narrow streets and a cosmopolitan atmosphere but not many tourists; and Barceloneta, which is known for its beaches and restaurants and cafes along the boardwalk.

Florence
Florence is known as the birthplace of the Renaissance and is said to be one of the most beautiful cities in the world. The Centro Storico is where travelers will find most of the city's monuments and attractions. Visitors usually spend most of their time on the Duomo side of the Arno River, where the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore (the Duomo) and the Piazza della Signoria are located. Michelangelo's "David" and the artist's other sculptures can be found at the museums there.

London
London offers the best of British food, fashion and culture, but its multicultural population gives it an international flair, as well. Central London has the West End, with its theaters, shops, restaurants and entertainment, and across the river is the South Bank, with its arts venues and concert halls. London has four World Heritage sites composed of 238 attractions that are free to enter, and it also has a thriving theater district. The city has been chosen as the site of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games.

Paris
The City of Light attracts more than 20 million visitors each year, enticing them to walk from the Arc de Triomphe down the Champs Elysees, through the Tuileries Gardens to the Louvre; from Notre Dame through the Latin Quarter to the Pantheon; and along the Canal St. Martin, often referred to as Paris' most romantic street.

Rome
The historic center of Rome is on the left bank of the Tiber River. Among the must-sees are the Roman Forum, the Colosseum, the Vatican, St. Peter's Basilica, the Sistine Chapel, the Spanish Steps, the Pantheon and Trevi Fountain. There is much to absorb, including life in its piazzas, Roman excavations, the quaint quarter of Trastevere and the National Museum, which houses some of the most important archaeological collections in the world.

Venice
Venice stretches across 17 small islands along the Adriatic Sea on the northeast corner of Italy. The canals, 150 in all, and imposing piazzas, such as St. Mark's, dominated by the Basilica and Doge's Palace, draw millions of visitors each year. Late March to early May is the best time of the year to see Venice.

Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii (The Big Island)
The Big Island is nearly twice the size of the other Hawaiian Islands combined, and it's still growing. Kilauea, the most active volcano in the world, has added hundreds of acres of coastal land to the island since its latest series of eruptions began in 1983. Each day, thousands of people visit Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, which houses roads to the volcano's summit, a visitor center, a lodge and the U.S. Geological Survey's Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. The Big Island is home to a number of luxurious resort hotels, most notably on the sunny Kohala Coast. One, the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai at Kaupulehu, is a 2008 Travel Weekly Readers' Choice Awards nominee for Top Resort Worldwide.

Kauai
Kauai offers more than 50 miles of white-sand beaches, more beach per mile than any other island in Hawaii. It also boasts luxury resorts and award-winning golf courses, including five courses that comprise the golf destination cooperative called Kauai: Discover Golf's Ultimate Island Green. They are Puakea, Poipu Bay, Kauai Lagoons, Kiahuna and Princeville. Three of them are associated with top resorts: Poipu Bay with the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa; Kauai Lagoons with Kauai Marriott Resort & Beach Club; and Princeville Golf Courses with the Princeville Hotel. The Puakea course is owned by AOL founder Steve Case. Less than 3% of Kauai is developed.

Lanai
Lanai is home to two luxurious resorts, two championship golf courses and outdoor adventures unique to the island's distinctive landscapes. Active visitors can four-wheel drive to the lunar landscape of Keahiakawelo, the Garden of the Gods; golf at two championship courses, the Challenge at Manele and the Experience at Koele; and hike up to Munro Trail for views of Maui, Molokai, Oahu, the Big island and Kahoolawe. A word about Kahoolawe: The island was used by the U.S. Navy as a bombing range until 1990. The Kahoolawe Island Reserve Commission is responsible for the restoration and management of the island.

Maui
Maui attracts sun worshippers and golfers year after year. Its biggest towns are Kahului, Wailuku and Lahaina, which is an old whaling town with shops and art galleries. On the opposite end of the island from Lahaina, the road to Hana features waterfalls and mountain views. Maui offers all manner of accommodations, from luxury hotels and resorts to family-friendly condominium properties. Among its principal resort communities are Kaanapali, Kapalua and Wailea.

Oahu
Home to Honolulu and the majority of Hawaii's population, Oahu is a mix of natural and cultural wonders. Historic Pearl Harbor sits to the south. Here visitors can view the exhibits at the USS Arizona Memorial and explore the Battleship Missouri Memorial, the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park and the new Pacific Aviation Museum. On the North Shore, they can see seven re-created South Pacific islands at the Polynesian Cultural Center. The Windward Coast has Sea Life Park and Kualoa Ranch. Walt Disney Parks and Resorts' first stand-alone hotel and timeshare resort in Hawaii will open at Ko Olina Resort & Marina on Oahu's Leeward Coast in 2011. The Disney project is estimated to cost $800 million. The oceanfront resort will include 350 hotel rooms and 480 timeshare villas as part of the Disney Vacation Club as well as a conference center and a spa. Disney paid $144 million last year for the resort's 21 oceanfront acres.

Mexico

Cabo San LucasCabo San Lucas, with its large marina and beautiful bay where the Sea of Cortes meets the Pacific Ocean, is famous for its casual atmosphere and exciting nightlife. Cabo San Lucas also has great beaches, lots of shopping and restaurants and a variety of hotels and resorts. Cabo San Lucas' long, sandy main beach, el Medano, is the place for swimming and watersports. A popular port of call for cruise ships along the Mexican Riviera, Cabo San Lucas is a popular destination for spring break and a hideaway for the rich and famous.

Cancun
Cancun is one of the largest resort areas in the world. Its location on the Caribbean makes it ideal for surfing, sailing, diving and boating. A range of hotels line the beaches, offering spas, golf courses and all manner of recreation. Tulum, a walled city dating from 900 to 1521, and other Mayan ruins in the region make for popular day trips.

Cozumel
Cozumel, the largest inhabited island in Mexico, is a resort known to divers around the world. The island is surrounded by more than 25 reef formations that enable divers of all skill levels to enter into a world of coral and colorful fish. An array of hotels accommodate various budgets. Cozumel is a favorite of Caribbean ship passengers.

Puerto VallartaProtected by the second-largest bay in the American land mass, Bahia de Banderas, and surrounded by the mountains of the Sierra Madre Occidental, Puerto Vallarta is a town that owes its charm to its blend of colonial and cosmopolitan features. Marina Vallarta, the largest sailing port in Mexico, is surrounded by deluxe hotels.

Riviera Maya
Just an hour by air from Miami, the Mayan Riviera is a natural retreat for vacationers. Playa del Carmen, the principal city, serves as the starting point of tours, transfers to Cozumel and trips to Cancun and other attractions. Mayan ruins abound, including at Tulum. The largest natural aquarium in the world is at Xel-Ha, 45 minutes south of Playa.

U.S. States

Arizona
Northern Arizona has one of the greatest assets in the Natural World and one of its Seven Wonders: the Grand Canyon. Sedona's famed red rocks, Flagstaff's forested mountains, Lake Powell's blue waters and Monument Valley's sandstone spires are more of Arizona's natural wonders. The state is home to the longest original stretch of Route 66, and much of the famous highway is still preserved by the locals. The capital city, Phoenix, combines with the surrounding cities of Chandler, Glendale, Mesa, Paradise Valley, Scottsdale and Tempe to form the Valley of the Sun, a mecca of diverse experiences ranging from luxury resorts, spas, shopping and golf courses to well-known restaurants and a vibrant nightlife. Southern Arizona's most populous city, Tucson, is a thriving metropolis with golf courses and resorts, a flourishing art and history scene and a vivid multicultural heritage.

California
The Golden State of California attracts millions of visitors each year because it has it all: beaches, mountains, cosmopolitan cities and rural areas, including world-class wineries, unspoiled wilderness and Gold Rush towns from the 1800s. Major California destinations include San Francisco, Los Angeles, Palm Springs, Santa Barbara, San Diego and Orange County, which includes Disneyland.

Florida
In the Sunshine State, Mother Nature's blessings are enjoyed year-round, with plenty of sunshine from the beaches of Miami and the Florida Keys to theme parks in the Orlando area in the central part of the state and to the Panhandle in the north.

Hawaii
Hawaii offers history and culture that serve as strong motivators for the leisure traveler. It also has a range of accommodations, from hotels to condos to timeshares, in a range of price categories. The four major islands -- Hawaii (the Big Island), Kauai, Maui and Oahu --  have a diversity of outdoor recreation activities, including championship golf courses.

Nevada
Nevada is one of the only places where you can ski in the morning and walk the greens in the afternoon. You can bike or hike the Tahoe Rim Trail, navigate a kayak on the Truckee River through downtown Reno, take an all-terrain vehicle up Sand Mountain near Fallon and snowmobile miles of open terrain near Elko. Visitors can test their Indy car or Nascar skills in the Mario Andretti or Jeff Gordon Racing School at Las Vegas Motor Speedway after you take in a world-famous show and dine at a five-star resort and casino. Northwest Nevada is Reno-Tahoe territory, where skiing, hiking and biking at Lake Tahoe are some of the outdoor recreations.

New York
New York State is more than New York City. The state has 62 counties, four mountain ranges (Adirondack, Catskill, Shawangunk and Taconic) and Niagara Falls. The central part of the state boasts the Finger Lakes region with its wineries, gorges and recreation and the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. From New York City, Hudson River ferries take visitors to Washington Irving's Sleepy Hollow and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

U.S. Cities

Las VegasOne of the top tourist destinations in the U.S., Las Vegas attracts more than 35 million visitors a year. There's always something new, including hotels, casinos and shows. The Trump Organization's new brand, the Trump Collection, came to Las Vegas with the March 31 opening of the Trump International Hotel & Tower Las Vegas. Encore, the Wynn luxury resort opening next to the Wynn Las Vegas, is accepting reservations for Dec. 22. The resort will have 2,034 suites, five restaurants, 11 retail outlets, seven bars and lounges, a nightclub and a spa/salon. In October, Caesars Palace topped off the $1 billion Octavius Tower, which is slated to open next summer. The 665-room tower will give Caesars more than 4,000 hotel rooms overall and 300,000 square feet of convention space. Analysts say the high-end product will help Caesars' bid to steal market share in the luxury gaming segment from MGM Mirage, the Las Vegas Sands Corp. and casino mogul Steve Wynn of Wynn Las Vegas and Encore.

New YorkGeorge Fertitta, CEO of NYC and Company, guesstimated at the time of this writing that more than 47 million visitors will have come to New York by the end of this year, bringing in $30 billion in revenue. Last year, tourists spent $28 billion in the city, and $14 billion of that came from the international market. Recently, NYC and Company completed a two-year process of creating 11 new international offices aimed at encouraging travel to New York with the opening of an office in Mumbai, India. The new offices bring the total to 18. NYC and Company's universal advertising campaign, "This Is New York City," in which the central advertising medium is a TV spot, has been shown in eight of the markets where it has a presence, including the U.S., France, Ireland, Spain and the U.K., and will debut in India.

Orlando
Orlando, America's top family-vacation destination, is home to multiple theme parks, most notably Walt Disney World, Sea World and Universal Studios. Multiple accommodations of all types and prices are offered in the city and its suburbs as well as at the parks themselves. More than 40 million people visit the city each year.

San Diego
San Diego is a vibrant and evolving city with new hotels, restaurants and attractions opening every year. In early 2009, Domus STAY, a new, alternative brand to the traditional hotel, will open [email protected], a condo-to-hotel conversion near Old Town State Historic Park. The luxury property will offer a new residence hotel concept that is already popular in the U.K., continental Europe and Asia. The Setai San Diego is slated to open this month in downtown San Diego. The property will feature 184 luxury rooms and suites. Room additions include 10-foot ceilings and balconies overlooking downtown's historical Gaslamp Quarter. The 22-story hotel will feature Asian elements throughout.

San Francisco
Until voted down in the November election, the big news affecting San Francisco tourism this year was the California Supreme Court ruling in favor of gay marriage. The San Francisco Convention & Visitors Bureau responded quickly with wedding packages. In the hotel market, Personality Hotels is set to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Alfred Hitchcock's 1958 classic film "Vertigo" with the opening of the 97-room Hotel Vertigo at 940 Sutter St. "Vertigo" starred James Stewart and Kim Novak, and Novak's character lived in the hotel, which was then called the Empire Hotel, during the last half of the film.

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